Backcountry routes within the Alberni Valley Community Forest (AVCF) continue to undergo steady improvement, says forest manager Chris Law.
Law hosted an open house Friday at the AVCF’s airport office, inviting recreational users to learn more about an evolving community-based asset.
“We’re showing the public the next five-year plan and asking for comments so that we can adapt our plans, hopefully, with feedback,” Law said.
Founded 10 years ago as a city-owned corporation, AVCF is one of more than 50 community-run forests in B.C. intended to balance forest management with community values. The 25-year agreements grant holders exclusive rights to harvest Crown timber in a given area while placing greater emphasis on non-timber values such as recreation, wildlife, watershed, biodiversity, cultural heritage and visual esthetics.
There are two operating areas within the AVCF. The Sproat area, above Sproat Landing, and Taylor area, on the slopes of Mt. Klitsa, comprise a total of 6,400 hectares. The annual allowable cut is 14,000 cubic metres with revenues generated for the City of Port Alberni in support of community-based projects.
Three more trails, two in the Taylor area and one in the Sproat area, are being registered within the community forest, Law said. These include Mt. Adder, Teodoro and Brigade Lake routes.
“We’re working on doing some more signing out in the field,” Law said. “There are way more trails than on the maps.”
AVCF asks the public to send GPS routes used within the operating areas to firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can be added to a recreational inventory. As well, AVCF is open to working with volunteers who build and restore most of the trails in the valley.
There is no active logging, although 40 hectares were harvested in the Friesen Creek watershed earlier this year. Logging that was planned for next year in the Taylor area was deferred after the discovery of goshawk nests last year. Northern goshawks are a protected species.
“We really appreciate the public consultation happening here and it’s very important to our community,” said Judy Carlson, a Cherry Creek resident who attended the open house.